Prometheus Bound: Beyond Greek Mythology

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Prometheus Bound: Beyond Greek Mythology

Abdullah Pullin

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With a cast of choreographers, Johanna Dunphry, director of last month’s play Prometheus Bound, took things a lot further than a God chained to a rock. Through a monologue brought to life with movement and dance and more than one Prometheus, this play made Prometheus seem freer rather than “bound.”

“My concept had to do with everyone being bound by something” Johanna Dunphry says. Prometheus Bound is the story of a God being punished for the crime of showing empathy toward humans, and giving them the gift of fire, and skills that were supposedly above them by being tied to a stone. The director says her style is a way to focus on something that many people are dealing with. “Being punished for doing the right thing. Something I like about this play is that it doesn’t bother anyone. It refers to humans as things that live and die.” The play focuses strictly on mankind as one type of God-like thing that is mortal. The politics of Prometheus Bound caused the play to take on a puzzling place according to Dunphry who wanted it to feel both old and new. “It could be set one thousand years in the future or one thousand years in the past.”

The script had the play take on a very uninteresting image that the director fixed. At the end of the play, Dunphry expects the audience to leave enthused after watching a play about Greek mythology. “People are surprised that they saw a Greek drama and left excited.” This is in part because of the choreography inside. Prometheus is tied to a rock and has very long monologues, so in retrospect, the play would seem very mundane but are very emotional and action packed. “I’m a movement person, that’s how I live and breathe, so instead of focus on the problem, I looked for the solution which is ‘what if I brought these stories to life?’” says Dunphry who solved the problem by adding movement to Prometheus’s words. Prompts were given to the cast based on what Prometheus said and were told to come back with movement that looked like his anguished words. Words conveyed by a cast with enough experience to understand Prometheus’s struggle.

Prometheus’s monologues are shared among three actors that Johanna Dunphry calls “the Promethei”, played by Nykko Vitali, the first Promethei who looked at what Prometheus was being punished for. “I think some of the most defining moments of my life have been standing against what the bandwagon thought” Nykko says. Prometheus accepts what he is doing, because he knows that what he is doing is the right thing, which Nykko feels like he relates to, because of the overall mindset of what his character thinks is morally right.

Being a former addict, Verna Gillins looks at her past and how it relates to her character’s lack of movement. “Being trapped in a ravine and being chained to something that’s unmoveable. I know what it’s like, being a recovering addict.” Verna says for how well she can relate to Prometheus.

Sarah Palmatory, the third and longest monologue Promethei focuses on the backstory of Prometheus and how well she can relate to the God when being punished for doing wrong. It is because of empathy that Prometheus is being punished. Sarah says “I’ve always been a maternal person and when I auditioned, I think the director saw how compassionate I could be in the scenes, that’s why I think I fit the role for Prometheus.”

The play stretched beyond the boundaries of Greek mythology and turned it into more than just a Greek play. It transcended Greek myths, mixed storytelling with verbal and physical attributes, and took the audience to a level of excitement further– than a God on a rock speaking. “I am honored to have been the director of this production” says Johanna Dunphry.

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